Well we have begun to pack for real now. When we were still hoping for January travel about a month ago, we started setting things aside so we could get an idea of how much room we have/need, but now we’ve purchased the vacuum bags and begun packing in earnest. No idea if travel will happen two weeks or five weeks from now, but there’s SO MUCH to think through and assemble with a trip to Africa…Our first order of business has been getting together the orphanage donations. They ask us to pack a large rubbermaid bin for the orphanage (to prevent mice from getting in) and duct tape it after getting through security so that no one tries to steal the contents in transit.

Layer 1: Toys for the kiddos. I bought a special set of paper dolls for Sevarine, the oldest girl in the orphanage, that I’ve been saving to send with Joel. Also found some awesome Africa coloring books. Our ladies group at church used grant money to purchase all the felt boards and felt pieces you see on the right for the kids to play with:


Layer 2: Fleece blankets (also from our ladies groups) and thirty stuffed bears donated by a lovely friend from church…

Layer 3: Hand-me-down clothes. I went through Yaya’s baby stuff and found some summer-wear for the babes there. I have never had the heart to part with her clothes even though I know we don’t really need her 0-12 month stuff anymore, but when I thought of all these little Congolese children in her cute little onesies, it was surprisingly easy to pack it up….

Layer 4: A purse (for nannies) stuffed with scarves and jewelry (more nannies gifts) and formula. We are always told that formula is the biggest need at the orphanage so we are trying to sneak it into every suitcase — especially in case it gets stolen…
Suitcase #2 is a combination of orphanage needs and Baby Boy’s needs. We were able to squeeze in more fleece blankets from the ladies group. A friend also gave me a bunch of hand-me-downs at a “sprinkle” a few weeks ago, many of which are summer wear for Baby Boy’s current size. So we decided to pack those up for him to wear while in country and leave them at the orphanage, since he won’t exactly be sunning in shorts when he comes to Montana.Joel will be able to purchase diapers while in country, but I’ve heard they aren’t the most secure so I’m sending him with some diapers at home to get him through both on the airplane ride home, where I suspect secure diapers will be important, and also the first day or so until he can get to the market to purchase some diapers in country.

We also have heard that there are no tubs at St. Anne’s, where Joel will be staying (and no hot water, but I digress) and somewhere along the lines I remember seeing a picture of someone’s portable bath that they brought, so we grabbed one of those off of Amazon recently.

We’ve also heard food is pretty pricey in Congo, so I’m trying to send Joel some make your own meals. Hence the microwaveable mac n’ cheese (blech!)…


So that Joel doesn’t have to worry about trying to get clean water to wash bottles and silverware with, I’m sending him with a disposable bottle system and lots of bottle nipples to throw away after one use, along with disposable silverware and a few baby food pouches, just in case (trying to ignore how weird it is that I have no idea what my own son’s current diet is like)…
Here is all the medical stuff they told us in our paperwork to get for the trip. No joke. Being the worried wife and mama, I tried to separate it a bit into different bags so he doesn’t use the lice killing shampoo as diaper cream or something…

Joel’s carry-on has the baby carrier, Baby Boy’s formula and airport arrival outfit, lots of trash bags and a few other odds and ends…

We confirmed with the travel agency that we are using that we will be able to bring a third bag for a fee and will be doing so for the trip there. We’ll use that for Joel’s clothes and toiletries, the Bible story books (thanks to the generosity of our Sunday School, ladies group, and blog readers we were able to order 20 books!) gifts for some of the kiddos from their moms and dads, and food for Joel while in country.As you can see….we’re nearly full. We don’t have much more room for bulky stuff, but we’re hoping to cram in the following if anyone is interested in contributing:

2 more containers of formula (must be Gerber Good Start Protect)
2ish packages powdered pedialyte
5ish tubes of lomitrin

Well this was probably about the most boring blog post ever. So on that note, I’m going to bed.


Good night.



  1. […] packed Joel’s bags for Congo, and got really sick of waiting. In an effort to distract myself from the adoption wait, I […]

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